Feelings of depression and anxiety can increase around the holidays. Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders. In fact, over 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, and depression afflicts over 21 million Americans. It is likely that someone close to you is or has suffered from one of these conditions.
Mood disorders can occur about for a variety of reasons. In many people, there is a strong genetic component to their brain chemistry, which directly impacts their mental health. For others, it is a result of their life experiences, anywhere from childhood to adulthood - upbringing, lifestyles, substance abuse, romantic relationships - they all play a part. These underlying life experiences often come to the forefront during the holidays, increasing a woman's feelings of depression and anxiety. In almost all cases, depression and anxiety arise due to the avoidance of the underlying issues, whether unconsciously or consciously. Only about one-third of those suffering from anxiety receive treatment, even though the problems are highly treatable with professional support.
Inside Depression and Anxiety
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and in fact your physical health can be directly impacted by the state of your mental and emotional health. Just as you would seek treatment for a broken arm, so should you seek treatment for mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.
Anxiety is chronic, debilitating worry over everyday life events, such as social encounters, test-taking, job interviews, relationships, or just paying the bills. Depression is "the blues" lasting for weeks, months, and even years on end. There are many different specific varieties of depression and anxiety disorders. Common anxiety disorders are social anxiety disorder, where a person suffers from an extreme fear of being judged in front of others; obsessive-compulsive disorder, where the individual performs obsessive rituals or routines in order to alleviate compulsive, pervasive thoughts; and post-traumatic stress disorder, where a person who has witnessed a traumatic event (such as a natural disaster, war, rape, violence, or sudden death) suffers from extreme and long-lasting anxiety and depression. Women are twice as likely as men to develop many anxiety disorders. Common depressive disorders include postpartum depression, after a woman has a baby, and chronic depression, which can occur over a span of decades.
Treatment for Depression and Anxiety
Thanks to advances in our understanding of the brain and mental health, mood disorders are mental health issues that, with the proper attention and support, can be overcome. Treatment starts with recognizing that the problems have more impact than just everyday stress or sadness. Psychotherapy, or talk therapy is perhaps the best and only way to truly understand and move past the underlying psychological issues. Although there are many self-help books that teach readers techniques such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, it is best to seek treatment from a professional mental health counselor. Behavioral health professionals can tailor mood disorder treatment to the individual's unique needs and situation.
With so many treatment options available, there is hope for women who suffer from depression and anxiety. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, for those who are willing to tackle their issues and seek a better life.
If you or a woman you love is suffering from feelings of depression and anxiety or may be dealing with feelings of low self-worth or fear that are preventing them from living a full and productive life, treatment can help.